Court’s Ruling May Soften Ind. Immigration Law
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Arizona’s immigration law is unconstitutional may spell bad news for parts of a similar law in Indiana.
Hoosier lawmakers passed a measure modeled after Arizona’s law in 2011. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit against the law last year, arguing that the state of Indiana has overstepped its bounds in a federal matter.
Indiana’s law, Senate Enrolled Act 590, allows police to detain illegal immigrants in certain situations. It also prohibits immigrants from using foreign-issued ID cards. Both of those aspects of the law may be stopped by the Supreme Court’s Arizona decision.
The court did uphold the Arizona provision that allows state and local police to check the immigration status of someone they suspect is not in the United States legally, allowing that portion of Indiana’s law to likely stand in the lawsuit.
Also, the Indiana provision that allows the state to fine companies that hire illegal immigrants could remain in effect.
State Senator Mike Delph (R-Carmel) wrote the Indiana immigration law. He says he believes Indiana’s law is still permissible, although he is still reviewing the court’s decision.
“Senate Enrolled Act 590 as signed into law by Governor Daniels has a provision which requires the Governor of Indiana to account for all of the costs borne by Hoosier taxpayers and submit a bill to the United States Congress. This takes place next month, July of 2012,” he said.
“Presidents from both parties have pandered for political reasons and now the court is once again suggesting the Federal government enforce the law. As long as the law remains unenforced, states like Indiana will bear real taxpayer expense. This is an unfunded mandate,” said Delph.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana disagrees, arguing that Indiana’s law allows people to be arrested without ever committing a crime.
“All of us should be concerned, given that we have a 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures, about any law that says police can arrest you for something when you’re not committing criminal activity,” ACLU attorney Ken Falk told Indianapolis television station Fox 59.
“As a whole, the decision appears to reinforce the proposition that immigration is the sole province of the federal government and states do not have a role,” he said.